Whether he intended to or not, Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard may have sent his team a subtle reminder about the reality of the NBA.
In an Instagram story, Lillard shared an audio clip of comedian and television host Steve Harvey saying that "loyalty has a expiration date."
At a time when small acts on social media can speak volumes about a player's mindset, it's going to be notable whenever a star player hints at any sort of divide that could emerge down the road.
For now, there doesn't appear to be any brewing drama between Lillard and the Blazers. The six-time All-Star is signed for at least two more years, and Portland is doing everything it can to strengthen his supporting cast.
Maybe general manager Joe Cronin somehow swings a deal for disgruntled Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant.
But this could be a pivotal summer for Lillard's Blazers tenure.
In December, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the dynamic guard was looking to sign a two-year, $107 million extension this summer when he's eligible to receive a new contract. If negotiations don't go according to plan, then Lillard could plausibly seek an exit before he can hit free agency in 2024.
But Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported on June 29 the Blazers were expected to acquiesce and hammer out a two-year extension.
Still, the expediency with which Durant's time in Brooklyn is unraveling will serve as a reminder of how quickly a star player's relationship with his team can evolve.
The Blazers missed the playoffs in 2021-22 and lost in the first round of the postseason in four of five seasons prior to that. As much as Cronin has done to raise the franchise's ceiling, Lillard might begin to feel more restless if those moves don't have their intended impact on the court.